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New program to combat burnout and trauma through pet therapy

DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger is seeking volunteers for Paws to Reflect, an innovative program aimed at combating burnout and trauma by connecting healthcare professionals with pet therapy and peer support to provide relief and comfort in a safe environment. 

“We asked our caregivers what would help them feel more supported and get them through a difficult day. They responded with two very clear needs: more emotional support and more puppies,” said Brittany Drumm, program director of Geisinger’s Center for Professionalism and Well-Being. “Our teams do such incredible work, and this program will give us the chance to bring them comfort, resources, safe spaces and moments of respite.”

To be eligible, dogs and their handlers must complete Geisinger volunteer training and be certified by Therapy Dogs International, the Alliance of Therapy Dogs or a therapy dog certification program recognized by the American Kennel Club. 

Last fall, Geisinger was one of three health organizations to receive grant funding for Paws to Reflect during the first NurseHack4Health Pitch-A-Thon, presented by organizations like Johnson & Johnson, SONSIEL and Microsoft. Geisinger nurses and members of Geisinger’s Center for Professionalism and Well-Being and the Volunteer Services Department presented the program to the panel. 

While this initiative was launched through a nursing innovation competition, Geisinger intends to expand the program to support not only its nursing teams, but all employees.

If you’re interested in volunteering for the health system’s Paws to Reflect program, email You can also learn more about volunteering here. 

About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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CONTACT: Annelise Przywara